How to make a leather wallet inspired by “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”

How to make a leather wallet inspired by “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”

Things you’ll need to know:

Things you’ll need to have:



  • small pieces of leather (about 1mm thick, vegetable tanned leather)
  • print-out of the pattern
  • Stitching Awl
  • Metal Ruler
  • Utility Knife
  • Binder Clips
  • Rotary Punch
  • Leather Conditioner (or your finish of choice)
  • Artificial Sinew
  • 2 Needles
  • Lighter

Here’s a time-lapse of the making process:


48 thoughts on “How to make a leather wallet inspired by “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”

      1. You, your site, your generous nature, a rare and wonderful thing.
        I will be buying something soon, a little skint at the minute….but considering that you give the plans away for free, you can expect a free lunch in two weeks time, and that’s a promise…..I don’t break them 🙂
        Have a great day and thank you for your time in putting this wonderful site together 🙂

  1. I hope you don’t mind me asking, but what do you use the lighter for? I went through the steps and didn’t find one part where you needed the lighter.

    1. You can get the leather from places like Tandy Leather or if you’re in Australia: Birdsall Leather, Packer Leather, Mac Lace or the Greenhalgh Tannery. I’m sure there are other places, too. But I haven’t tried all of them

      1. Dob’t forget, if you start tooling the wallet, you need a veg tan leather. Check pressing a damp finger – if the leather takes the damp, turning darker, then it’s good for tooling.

  2. Thank you for this tutorial. This movie has changed our lives, it was such an inspiration to my husband so I am making the wallet for him. So I got all the materials to make the wallet.. What would I use the Aw for? I don’t see it being used in the tutorial for anything other than marking.

    1. Yes, you’re right. It’s only used for marking. You could use any other similar sharp object if you don’t have an awl already. I added it to the list so that it’s complete.
      The materials are a list of things I usually use. You could make this wallet without an awl, binder clips and even needles. A hole punch and something to cut the leather is all you really need.
      Hope you’ll enjoy making it!

    1. Hi Matt, the inside dimensions of the wallet are about 90mm high and 155mm wide. So the £50 note is pretty close but could be folded in half. I fold almost all my notes in half before I put them into the wallet (and Australian notes are much smaller than UK ones)

  3. Hi! Will the measurements be off when printing “Legal” size vs. A4 or A2? Not sure how that works. And did you make the template out of card stock?

    1. Hi Darren, you should be able to set your printer to not scale the image and it’ll work out how many Legal size sheets it’ll need to fit the page. The original template I did for this is on card stock. I worked out the measurements and cut it out by hand. You could also take the pattern file and use the measurements to draw it up without printing it out.

  4. Sorry but your design is not the same. I’ve printed it several times with different programs and different scales (100% included) and your 2 peices don’t line up.

    1. Hi Dries, the pieces don’t line up because that helps to fold the wallet into its final form. The inside of most wallets is smaller than the outside.

      1. Hi, I have the same question, you clamp the two pieces together and punch the holes together, how can they be different sizes? what am I missing. I did use the pattern for the larger piece to make both sides and it didn’t come out great, but it was a proptype to try… making a finished product now.

        1. Hi Mike,

          You’ll have to punch the holes separately on both pieces or if you do want to clamp them, do them in sections and move the larger piece in place. I normally punch the holes using the template and it always fits at the end

          1. hi, one more question, what are the actual dimensions? i have it printed twice and they are different sizes! one is too small for US Dollars one is very large. one is 260 x 97 mm (10.25 x 3 7/8 in) the other is 235 x 89 mm (9.25 x 3.5 in)

          2. You should be able to print it out at 100% scale (look in your printer options). That’ll be the most accurate. I don’t have one here right now but by memory it’s about 25cm

  5. The trick for a hole punch in the middle of large surfaces is not to use it as a hole punch at all, rather to use it as a wadding punch. Dial your chosen punch so it’s on the opposite side of the wheel from where it normally is, and put some thin softwood or thick waste leather between the head that’s there and the anvil, to protect the edge.
    Turn the punch over, you’re going to use it upside down. Put some more waste under the leather to act as an anvil. Position the punch over the leather where you want the hole and hit the rear over the anvil with a hammer, so the blow passes through the head into the cutting head opposite.

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